Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Not So Mysterious Afterall...

I'm always so grateful for having a wide circle of friends who are also experts in related fields. Virginia Hayes is the Curator of the Living Collection at Ganna Walska's Lotusland. If you're not familiar with this astounding horticultural collection in Montecito, CA. click on this link for more. It is perhaps one of the greatest gardens in the world, the vision of a most wonderful and unusual lady.

Anyway, as soon as I had the photo of Sunday's strange cactus uploaded to my Flickr site I wrote to Virginia and Randy Baldwin - my "know every plant in the world" experts. Randy is the general manager of San Marcos Growers, one of the top nurseries on the west coast specializing in Mediterranean-climate plants.

Randy was unfamiliar with the strange manifestion that I interpreted as either a French braid or the neck and head of a buzzard, awaiting a tasty meal of carrion. Turns out the explanation from Virginia was a bit more simple and makes perfect sense...

Hi Billy,

This is just how those large cactus flowers curl up after being open. If you want physiological reasons, I'd guess loss of turgor pressure in both the petals (pale color) and the sepals (greenish, narrow structures) and probably lost unevenly so that the infolding and twisting happens.

Have a great day,

So, no need to call out Sherlock and Watson. Just nature doing it's usual thing.


Anonymous said...

Ah, so it's done blooming! I guessed wrong. Wonder if it has a scent.

Aiyana said...

Thanks for letting me know of your update on the cactus flower. That sounds like a reasonable explanation. If you check out a previous post of mine,


you can see something somewhat similar. This was back before I started sizing photos, so if you click on it you can get a full- screen view. It's really an ugly, hairy sight!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

That is a great picture! I'm hoping my prickly pear will bloom this year... That's it for cacti in MI!
~ Monica

Ewa said...

So this is a queen of the night?
mistery resolved :)

I have one more mistery plant I saw lately and I have no idea what it is. I saw picture on the blog. Owner of the blog dooesn't know what it is, and person she got the cutlings from also, maybe you could drop there and have a look. I leave the link - in the post lower there is naked tree with amazing pink 'something' as flowers :)


Kylee Baumle said...

I know next to nothing about cacti, but I have a few, including one that looks like that. It's never bloomed yet, though. Now I'm hoping it will! It goes outside in the summer.

Kylee Baumle said...

Ewa, I hope Billy doesn't mind me jumping in here, but I believe Fifi's "Dr. Seuss tree" is a Calliandra. Do you agree, Billy?

Claude said...

Mystery solved! I have a Cereus hildemanius that does the same thing... these are one of the 15 or so plants that go under the common name of Queen of the Night.

Garden Wise Guy said...

Kylee: My first comment was also Calliandra, but after Fifi wrote back to me (directly) and indicated it was Bombax, I did a Google Image search and.........
(drum roll please)............... Bombax it is. Sort of fitting, since Bombax sounds like a Dr. Seuss character, anyway.

Thanks for stopping by and keeping the conversation going.

Dr. Greenthumb said...

Hi Billy,

Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my new blog. After reading some of your posts, I agree, we are cut from the same cloth. I am just getting into this whole blogging thing, but I think there will be many more posts to come. I will also enjoy keeping in touch with you and reading your new posts as they come along.

The Pitt. 'Platinum' that you mentioned is sort of hard to come by. I'd love for more growers to hold onto them until they are 15gal as that's when they really start to take form, but I'm lucky to get them in 5's.
Thank you for the link... I'll add one to your blog as well.

Dr. G.

Anonymous said...

It is so fantastic picture it's really very nice. I like it.
Wide Circles

Unknown said...

That is a great picture!hi to all the members of this.
This is Davis Wilson for you.nice to meet u all.